News / Middle East

Iraq, Iran Forge New Relationship

Iraq, Iran Forge New Relationshipi
X
October 24, 2013 8:22 PM
The U.S. removal of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 2003 created a new dynamic between Iraq and Iran. The two nations, which fought each other in the 1980s, have re-established close ties - with implications for the region and the United States. VOA’s Jeffrey Young has this look at the impact of Baghdad and Tehran’s warming relations.
Iraq, Iran Forge New Relationship
The U.S. removal of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 2003 created a new dynamic between Iraq and Iran. The two nations, which fought each other in the 1980s, have re-established close ties - with implications for the region and the United States.

After fighting each other for nearly a decade, in a conflict that cost a combined half-million military casualties, Iraq and Iran ended their war in a stalemate in 1988. The two states remained coldly hostile for another 15 years.

In 2003, U.S. forces invaded Iraq and drove Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party from power. The result of that was the rise to power of the Shi’a, Iraq’s majority, whom Hussein had largely excluded. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Shi’a Dawaa party are now a major force in Iraq’s government.

Iraq has renewed relations with its Shi’a neighbor, Iran, a move some in Washington view with concern.

But Iraq’s Ambassador to the United States, Lukman Faily says America has to accept Baghdad charting its own course.

"It is important for the United States to understand that Iraq is an independent country, Iraq is a sovereign country, but Iraq is a proud ally of the United States," said Faily.

Faily also deflects criticism that renewed ties with Tehran have given Iran too much influence in Iraq.

Persian Gulf analyst Afshin Molavi of the New America Foundation said what Iran wants would look like Lebanon.

"Iran’s vision is creating an Iraqi Hezbollah. They were hoping that Moqtada al-Sadr could become the Hassan Nasrallah of Iraq, the leader of an Iraqi Hezbollah-type political party that would be both a militia and a political party that could also provide social services. It’s a model that has served them well in Lebanon," said Molavi.

Another Washington analyst, Fred Kagan at the American Enterprise Institute, said Iraq charts its own course, but often works in concert with Iran.  

"Fundamentally, Iraq is acting, at this point, in the region as an ally of Iran on a state-to-state level in terms of its support for [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad, in terms of Dawaa support for oppositionists in Bahrain, and just in terms of allowing the Iranians to flout the [UN, U.S. & E.U.] sanctions regimes in an outrageous fashion."

Molavi said the Iraq-Iran relationship is a matter of cold pragmatism and opportunism. "At the end of the day, I mean, these are amoral national interest states. You know, and these amoral national interest states will find reasons, you know, to shunt aside their ideologies, their religious affiliations, their sectarian identities, if they feel it’s both in the national interest of their state, but also, in the personal interest of their political elites."

Analysts say the emerging Iran-Iraq relationship compels the U.S. to accept that no one state will be able to control the outcomes in the volatile Persian Gulf.

Jeffrey Young

Jeffrey Young came to the “Corruption” beat after years of doing news analysis, primarily on global strategic issues such as nuclear proliferation.  During most of 2013, he was on special assignment in Baghdad and elsewhere with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Previous VOA activities include VOA-TV, where he created the “How America Works” and “How America Elects” series, and the “Focus” news analysis unit.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs